Archives of research reveal that women of all ages and circumstances have feelings of isolation, inadequacy and the fear of sharing their personal stories. It is important to find trustworthy people who will listen without judgment, enhancing our willingness to self-disclose. Ideally, the person you choose to share with is:
- A skilled listener – listens mindfully to what you are saying, asks relevant questions and offers comments after gathering sufficient information.
- Trustworthy – will hold what you share in confidence.
- Easy to talk to – the listener makes you feel safe, valued and comfortable as you tell your story.
- Nonjudgmental – judgments and criticisms are omitted from the conversation.
- Empathic – the listener is compassionate and willing to deal with the emotions elicited by your story.
Consider speaking with a trained professional, like a therapist, social worker or life coach, or a trusted clergy member. Another option is sharing with a friend or loved one who can maintain boundaries around our intimate stories and experiences. Self-disclosing with friends can also strengthen the bonds of the relationship. However, when sharing with friends it is important to know that reciprocity must occur over time.
The Benefits of Self-Disclosure
- Connects us with others, builds relationships and vital for good mental health
- Builds trust with another and strengthens our self-esteem
- Stimulates personal and spiritual growth
- Makes sense out of our experiences and choices
- Alleviates anxiety and feelings of isolation and aloneness
- Deepens resilience and helps us navigate through losses and challenges
- Reinforces that while our life’s journey is unique, there is a universality to our emotional world
- Strengthens self-confidence and feelings of personal empowerment
- Supports us in giving back, helping others by listening and making ourselves available emotionally.
Can you recall a time when sharing your personal story helped you move forward in your life–even when no answers were given? We would love to hear about any experiences you would like to share….